Friday, 12 August 2011

Will Self artwork in Brixton

all images by urban75

Author, Brixton resident and the man who brought the phrase 'this whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal' to Newsnight, Will Self has co-produced an artwork with his nephew Jack which has recently been installed in Brixton.

The work, as you would expect, revolves around words and aims to celebrate the rich and diverse language of Brixton. Will spent a month in early summer listening to conversations in and around Brixton market, along Electric Lane and Brixton Road. 

The sounds, words and conversations he heard are displayed in a light installation on the side of the Iceland supermarket, at the west end of Brixton's Electric Avenue. 

Will says, "Brixton Speaks is an artwork intended to reflect the people who live, work and shop in Brixton Market and its environs the way they themselves speak. The aim of Brixton Speaks is not to antagonise, shock, or distort, but simply to mirror the great vigour, invention and diversity of Brixtonians."

You can read more about all of the projects in Lambeth, including projects by Lucy Casson and Maggi Hambling, here:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Intersections call for papers for 2012 conference

Intersections at the University of Newcastle are hosting an international interdisciplinary conference exploring the temporality of contemporary public arts practice.

The conference, Duration, will take place 29-30 March 2012 as part of AV Festival.

Intersections aims to generate critical dialogue about public art practice and develops related practice-based and theoretical research.

Intersections invites papers and presentations of work that explore the tensions between permanence and temporality in contemporary public arts practice. If you wish to submit a paper, email abstracts (300 words) for 20 minute presentations of papers, reflections on practice or proposals for 1hr workshops to:

Possible themes include, but are not restricted to:
Permanent / Ephemeral: how do ephemeral practices disrupt, agitate or question the permanence of contemporary social and physical landscapes? How do ‘permanent’ rhetorical topoi in our landscapes retain relevance and evoke meaning against the continual pulse of change? What are the dialogues between ephemerality and permanence in contemporary practice and how do they relate to broader social and political discourse? How do we inscribe temporary acts/events into more permanent forms and what are the implications of this?Duration: What is the duration of a public artwork? In commissioned work, how are demands for ‘visual’ deliverables mediated with desires for socially-engaged and place-enriching practice? In our consideration or evaluation of public art projects, are we too quick to judge? How does duration affect our perception of value? Is there a different temporality to urban and rural works?Expectation: How have contemporary art practices used temporal disruption to alter the audience’s expectations and experience? How is contemporary public art practice engaging with technology to disrupt desires for immediacy?

The conference responds to the AV Festival 2012 theme of Slowness, the Festival aims to slow down the biennial experience by presenting work at multiple venues and at different paces, speeds and times of day. 

Upper River Cam Biodiversity Project Artist Commission

Deadline: 23 August 2011

Cambridge City Council wishes to include an artist commission as part of a wider project entitled the Upper River Cam Biodiversity Project. The Upper River Cam Biodiversity project encompasses a complex of five natural green spaces on the banks of the river Cam, adjacent to the heart of the historic centre of the city. The proposed works as part of this project include habitat enhancements and improvements to access, wayfinding, legibility and interpretation.

One of the issues within these interconnected green spaces, which form the Upper River Cam Biodiversity Project is poor legibility, in terms of understanding, which space one may be entering and what is special about that space. This commission aims to explore and address this issue, by adding the value of an artist to provide creative interpretation to the project and celebrate the contexts of the spaces. The Council have identified a range of objectives the project could address: Help people to understand the value of the spaces and inspire them to engage with the natural environment; Improve the understanding of the relationships of the spaces with each other; Promote awareness of the diverse range of biodiversity within the spaces; Promote awareness of the history of each space and celebrate what is special about those spaces. It is envisaged that the artist will explore developing artwork proposals, to be located at the periphery of the spaces (which includes entrances), on key routes and at points of interest.
All elements of the artwork must be completed and installed on site by November 2012. The specific budget set aside for the artwork/s is £27,500. 
Further Information

To receive a full copy of the brief, email: Carly.Hayward[at]

Olympic Art Commissions Take Shape

Permanent public art commissions are part of the creative programme of London's 2012 Olympics and as well as the outrageously enormous Anish Kapoor work, the ArcelorMittal tower (see a video here: and the Floating Cinema I've already talked about on my blog, the programme includes works by Monica Bonvicini, Carsten Nicolai, and Hackney-based Martin Richman. The project also includes an artist-in-residence, Neville Gabie.

Italian artist Monica Bonvicini's work, Run, will be located outside the Handball arena, and is due for completion this Autumn (2011). The work consists of three 9-metre tall letters forming the word 'RUN'. The sculpture will be made of glass and stainless steel, producing a mirrored effect during the day, while at night the letters will become more transparent and glow with internal LED lighting. Ten years ago Monica had a solo show titled 'RUN, TAKE one SQUARE or two' which included the song 'Running Dry' by Neil Young and reminded people of the famous Velvet Underground song 'Run Run Run'. It is this strain of work which the project returns to. Read more about Monica here: 

Carsten Nicolai's work ifo spectrum converts the five rings of the Olympic emblem into their temporal equivalent - an image of the loops of a sound wave as a low frequency oscillation or ifo. Applied in an unfolding natural colour gradient derived from the spectrum of a sunset, it creates five 'cycles of intensity across the circumference of the [Olympic] site. The artist's website states that 'the visual quality of the panel frieze, with its oscillating colour gradients, together with the shifting play of sunlight, challenges the viewer's sense of the frieze's structure and expanse.'   

Martin Richman's One Whirl, is incorporated into one of the new bridges near the Velodrome and on the walls and ceiling of an underpass that will allow pedestrians to walk under the A12 road. 

To read full details about all of the artworks and projects, visit:

Luke Jerram's Sky Orchestra flies over London

Bristol artist Luke Jerram's project, Sky Orchestra, took flight over London at the end of July as part of LIFT, the London International Festival of Theatre.

The project was a collaboration with composer Dan Jones who composed the music played from the balloons at dawn and dusk, creating a 'massive audio landscape'. 

The performance took place to herald a year to go to the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Another of Luke's projects, Aeolus, a wind pavilion, has recently been installed at Lyme Park in Cheshire. The artwork will be displayed at MediaCity in Salford (27 Aug - 10 Sept) and afterwards at the Eden Project in Cornwall (from 16th September). To read more visit:  

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Martin Creed's Work No 1059, the Scotsman Steps, is installed in Edinburgh

Photo by Tom Finnie
At the heart of this year's Edinburgh Art Festival  (4 August - 4 September 2011) is the unveiling of a permanent commission by Wakefield-born artist and musician Martin Creed.

The work was commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery for Edinburgh Art Festival with support from the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund and took a while to deliver - it was meant to have been finished by last year's festival. Work No. 1059 consists of 104 steps leading from the Scotsman Hotel on North Bridge to Waverley Station, The Fruitmarket Gallery and City Art Centre on Market Street, each step clad in a different colour of marble.

Photo courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photograph by Gautier Deblonde

The Scotsman Steps were built in 1899 as part of the ‘Scotsman Building’ for the Scotsman newspaper, and have recently been refurbished by Edinburgh City Council and Edinburgh World Heritage. Work No.1059 forms a key part of the refurbishment, and is a visually spectacular, beautiful and thoughtful response to this historic artery. Creed describes the project as a microcosm of the whole world – stepping on the different marble steps is like walking through the world, the new staircase dramatising Edinburgh’s internationalism and contemporary significance while recognising and respecting its historical importance.

The work can be found at: Scotsman Steps, 45 Market Street, EH1 1DF and happily can be viewed Monday - Sunday between 5am and midnight. See if you can squeeze it in during those hours.